Madill trio receive statewide arts award

Michael Smith

Three Madill High School students were among the recipients of an Oklahoma State Department of Education award for fewer than 150 high school juniors and seniors. The State Superintendent Awards for Arts Excellence were announced on Tuesday and included Austin Rayne Adams, Alivia Cantrell and Alejandra Salas.

Awards were divided into six categories with Adams, Cantrell and Salas earning awards in the Drama/Theatre category. Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said the award is for students who have both served their communities and achieved excellence in arts and academics.

“Students who participate in the arts — whether music, drama, dance, or in visual media — acquire skills that transfer to other academic areas and carry forward into adulthood,” Hofmeister said in Monday’s announcement.

Of the nearly 150 students who received awards, Madill High School students were most of the southern Oklahoma recipients. Cantrell said she was slightly surprised by that fact but could attest to strong support within the arts programs at Madill.

“If you’re a kid at Madill and you’re in one of the arts programs, odds are you’re really committed to it,” she said by phone on Tuesday.

She said her fellow recipients are involved in other arts programs, including music, while she has focused on speech and debate for her high school career. Now a senior, Cantrell said she tried poetry last year but enjoyed performing monologues.

An awards ceremony was scheduled for April 21 in Guthrie but has been postponed due the COVID-19 closure of school events. Award winners will still receive medals, event programs, letters of commendation and a certificate.

While disappointed for fellow award recipients who will likely forego an awards ceremony, Cantrell is still thankful for being a part of the Madill arts community.

“We’re really like a family and it’s so cool to just have that support system,” she said.